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Put the claws away, ‘Tiger Mother’ parenting may not pay off




In this picture taken 01 March 2004, an Indian schoolgirl of XIIth standard class (16-18 years old) doing some last minute revision as she awaits the start of their Physics examination at St. Thomas School, New Delhi. A study by non-governmental organisation Sahyog showed that 57 percent of the 850 teenagers they questioned suffered from depression and 9 percent attempted suicide last year.
In this picture taken 01 March 2004, an Indian schoolgirl of XIIth standard class (16-18 years old) doing some last minute revision as she awaits the start of their Physics examination at St. Thomas School, New Delhi. A study by non-governmental organisation Sahyog showed that 57 percent of the 850 teenagers they questioned suffered from depression and 9 percent attempted suicide last year.
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images

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A new study published in the Journal of Family issues takes a close look at Tiger Mother parenting in China and found that it’s not working. The study is believed to be the first empirical measure of this style of parenting in China, and in the sample of 589 Chinese adolescents who participated, controlling, punitive behavior didn’t reap the benefits some parents say they’ve seen. 

The results instead showed that these middle and high school students struggled with self-esteem issues, problem behavior, and depressive symptoms. The study’s outcome mirrors similar studies that measured impacts of Tiger Mother parenting on Western adolescents.

What are the best ways to motivate children to succeed? Where is the line between support and monitoring vs. punitive parenting? What implications does this study have for parents in the U.S.?

Guest:

Cixin Wang, Ph.D, Assistant Professor in school psychology at the University of California, Riverside